I survived the long plane ride to Australia! After making it to Melbourne and through customs, I was also able to get rid of my terribly heavy bags. For Orientation, we headed to the overpriced seaside town of Sorrento, which was well worth it. The hostel we stayed in was perfectly beachy (blue and white fabric, blankets that embrace sand and rustic wood furniture) considering the beach itself was a two-minute walk away. Per order of our Arcadia Orientation leaders, Kendal, Maz, Michelle and Patrick, we rested, drank a lot of water, ate well, took in fresh air and adjusted to the time difference by setting sleeping routines. Their constant humor also dissipated any homesickness I was feeling when I would stop and realize, yup, I’m in Australia. It’s real, people! I also think seeing kangaroos when I was still delirious from the plane ride made the reality check even more magical.
Furthermore, I am not usually a person who enjoys Orientation. I get cocky in regards to my independence and learning from experience. But Arcadia’s Orientation was really fabulous and along with providing valuable information, left me feeling more connected with the place that would be my home until the end of June. I also was able to connect with people on not only Sydney related programs but also programs in Wollongong, New South Wales, Macquarie, etc… In fact, after leaving Sorrento and spending a night in Melbourne, my two roommates were girls who are studying in Wollongong (affectionately called “the Gong”.) I look forward to visiting them before it gets “cold” (not by Boston standards of course!)
Ultimately, my Orientation made me realize that it is a group of unique birds that choose to study abroad across the world. No abroad experience is better than another (though I may be biased because I adore Australia at this point) but it takes a certain kind to put this much distance between themselves and the United States. For some, it is because Australia is their first time out of the country so why not do it big and go to the land down under? For others, it is the internship experiences, the possibility of falling in love, the iconic beaches, and the carefree nature of Australian life. Every individual’s desire to be in Australia this semester makes us all unique but at the same time, inexplicably tied together.